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News from the works councils (April 2024)

Health and safety at work is something that we often take for granted. However, optimal working conditions are for the most part created by the work of the health and safety and environmental experts from the institutes and the NWO-I office. The Group Works Council (GOR NWO-I) dealt with three requests for approval prepared by them: the health and safety plan 2024, the procurement and use of the software application LabServant, and the regulation occupational health assessments and vaccinations. The GOR NWO-I and the Executive Board representative also discussed the progress made in the trajectory Development Operations. The Central Works Council (COR NWO) received an update about developments concerning the governance of NWO-I.

Governance NWO-I

NWO-I is currently governed via a temporary way of working. As the COR NWO has the right to issue advice about important changes in the organisation of the operations, and the allocation of competencies (Works Councils Act, art. 25 under e) the council is actively involved in the subject. In all consultative meetings, the Executive Board representative provides an update, for example about the interim evaluation of the temporary way of working, which will be in place until at least 1 April 2024. This means that an intended or final decision about the future governance of NWO-I is expected shortly. If changes are definitely implemented with a subsequent change in the statutes, then the COR NWO will receive a request for advice concerning this.

Development Operations

For a long time, the GOR NWO-I has consulted with the Executive Board representative about the project ‘Development Operations NWO-I’ that has been (temporarily) put on hold. It has been agreed with the Executive Board representative to start afresh with a clean slate. This means that outstanding requests for advice about the various domains within the operations have been withdrawn, and that the GOR NWO-I has received the year plans for all domains. This does not imply that the GOR NWO-I will no longer be asked for advice but signifies that we will receive requests for advice as soon as a subject arises that requires advice. The first request for advice expected by the GOR NWO-I concerns a change at the NWO-I office: the creation of different departments and an increase of the number of FTEs. It is expected that this request for advice will be sent to the GOR NWO-I no later than the end of April.

Requests for approval concerning health and safety

In February, the GOR NWO-I received three requests for approval concerning subjects related to health and safety conditions. The GOR committee Health and Safety discussed the subject with the Health and Safety and Environment adviser for NWO-I, Sjoerd Wouda. Subsequently, the requests for approval were discussed with the Executive Board representative during the consultative meeting of 5 March. The GOR NWO-I approved the following three subjects/schemes:

Health and Safety year plan 2024

NWO-I ensures that employees can do their work in a healthy and safe manner. In the year plan 2024, NWO-I describes the activities formulated for this objective. A case in point is writing an advisory report for managing all procedures and processes for working conditions so that NWO-I can always access the right information for employees, management and inspection bodies.

Procurement and use of LabServant

NWO-I has taken steps to use the same software for the registration of hazardous substances at the institutes AMOLF, ARCNL, ASTRON, DIFFER, NIOZ and Nikhef, as this will facilitate mutual knowledge exchange. At AMOLF and NIOZ, a registration will also be set up for biological agents (microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites, fungi, yeasts and viruses or components of these), genetically modified organisms and genetic sources.

After the tender process, it was found that just one party, LabServant, could satisfy the requirements of NWO-I. The BVO (operational meeting) and the Foundation Board approved the procurement agreement. The decision to procure and use LabServant was subsequently submitted for approval to GOR NWO-I. The GOR NWO-I issued its approval conditional upon the successful completion of the DPIA (data protection impact assessment) before LabServant is commissioned.

A DPIA serves to map the privacy risks of data processing and to draw up data management measures. As it is not possible to take all management measures before the system is installed, it is not feasible to fully complete the DPIA earlier. The works councils of the institutes where the intended implementation of LabServant will lead to changes in the processes and/or procedures will soon receive a request for approval for this.

Regulation occupational health assessments and vaccinations

As an employer, NWO-I has a legal obligation to carry out periodic occupational health assessments, provide vaccinations where appropriate and, in certain cases, have (appointment) medical checks performed. The existing policy was not aligned with the practice within NWO-I, and was not known to all institutes. The procedure has therefore been revised and adjusted in accordance with the latest scientific insights. The regulation provides frameworks for the institutes and the office.



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